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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 21, September 6, 1976.


page 27


Letters header

Letters can be handed in at the letterbox just inside the Salient office or handed in to the editor personally. However if you wish to pay 8c postage then send your letters to P O Box 1347, Wellington. Letters should be double spaced and on one side of the paper only.

Shakespeare Proud of Peter Hallwright

Dear Sir,

My congratulations to Peter Hallwright on his letter of August 9. Not only has he proved to English students that there are still some among us who can differentiate between pure learning and the conditions in which learning occurs, but also that by such dedication a measure of ingenuity may be instilled. Such high-mindedness is an example to us all. Don, and even Shakespeare himself, would be proud of him I'm sure.

Yours in admiration,

Simon Wilson.

Comment on Bursaries

Dear John,

I'd like to comment on Charles Crothers' letter on bursaries last Salient. He raises very important questions about the nature of bursaries and of universities, questions which as he suggests, should have had greater emphasis in the bursaries campaign. If I can briefly summarise them, his criticisms are:
1.Education is paid for by all members of the community, and as most (actually, nearly all) students are middle class, therefore the working class kids are getting a raw deal.
2.We should be investigating ways of making the entry to and the benefits from university study spread more equitably.

These points seem to stem especially from comments I made on the Radio Windy talkback show on bursaries. The context was a suggestion that student loans (which would have to paid back in later life) should be introduced. I am opposed to this, basically because overseas experience suggests that this reinforces class divisions in education, rather than reducing them. The argument I used was that as graduates get higher incomes and hence pay higher taxes, they do in fact repay society for the 'investment' in them. I think that attempts to look at education purely in money terms are very short-sighted - I used the argument only because I thought it would get through to the caller better. I can in fact bamboozle people with stats on this point if they really want me to.

Beyond this explanation, I quite agree with Charles' points on the inequalities of the education system. I also wholly agree that much more work needs to be done on them. However, in the interim I think one realistic thing that can be done is to have cost-of-living increases and an end to various anomalies in the bursary system to allow more students to come to these hallowed halls. Lastly, I think the base cause of discrimination in education comes from the capitalist nature of society - unless that is corrected, then true equality, in education or anywhere else, is impossible in my view. A view I tried to raise in a recent article in Salient - which hat had unfortunately no response.


Anthony Ward.

Further Criticism of Malaysian Students

Dear Mr Editor,

This is it - I've had enough - I'm fed up - right up to here, I've just read the latest letters in Salient concerning the Malaysian. High Commission and its associated debate.

Worried Kiwi and Worried Students - you're all wee rippers. Malaysian students are here not because it is their right, but because it is their privelige - we New Zealanders have allowed them to further their education at our expense - and what thanks do we get for this? Not a thing, not a sausage, bugger all!! What, I repeat what do the Malaysian contribute to this Uni? I have noticed a lack of Malaysians in, for example, VUWSA etc etc. They are more than prepared to reap the benefits of such association, but are not prepared to do the dirty work - all take, but no give (It's not a bloody clichc either - so don't say it is - typesetter or similar wanker).

If the Malaysians weren't here, who would give a stuff? Not I for one. Perhaps some of my tutorials would be smaller (good thing too), there would be less hold-ups in the queue due to language difficulties and ignorance (of NZ ways). And, finally, there wouldn't be screeds of good letter writing space taken up by shitty letters about Malaysian moans and groans (no letters such as this one).

Some say I am a bigot and a racist - others tell the truth. Malaysians - an order from a ture born and bred Kiwi - pipe down or piss off.

Jordan K. Mangrove - Muncher.

p.s. worried students - I live in Khandallah and I am fully sympathetic.

Defenders of the Realm

Dear Ed,

It is encouraging to see that the workers of this country will take action to defend this city and surrounds in the event of an invasion from afar (one of those "nuc" subs or whatever) entering Port Nicholson.

I refer of course to the four "Long Tom" type cannon (vertically) awaiting installation in the emplacement generously, or perhaps unknowingly, provided by the university, authorities (under the guise of a [unclear: Von] something-or-other building on Glasgow Street).

No doubt a few students (or perhaps just Bones Couper) will find enough energy to throw a dart or two in the general direction of the waterfront in such an event.

Have no fear,

The revolution will not reach here! Heads down, back to work, PACO Massey

Life in the English Department

Dear Salient,

What is life in the English Dept.? It is like an actor who has to concentrate on so many trivial directions from a niggly director that he can hardly scratch his bum with conviction any more.

Why do us arts students even come to university in the first place? Why don't we just read our books at home, and never come here? We come to university for one major reason - to talk with others, to exchange ideas and opinions that we wouldn't get on our own. I think the end of all learning is to be able to express our ideas in words, to be able to apply our ideas to living. Learning is a very social activity. I have a hunch that the person who first started up the whole idea of having universities wanted something like that. Of course, no-one's going to be able to express their ideas just slap bang off like that, so what you do is try to marshall your thoughts on paper first (essays), or get yourself artificially inseminated by someone else's ideas to get started (books and lectures), but these are never ends in themselves. The end is to have your own ideas, to engage in discussion. Discussion is our kiln. That's what they mean by university. Otherwise they would call it disuniversity. Or just bugger off.

Some Greek conversationalist before 'Christ, said. 'People's minds aren't buckets waiting to be filled - they're fires waiting to be ignited.' Lectures are like big cement trucks that empty themselves all over you. If you know what's good for you, you'll gel to hell out of it. You learn more off your own bat, and talking to people. This is the way its always been.

Stuart Johnston once referred to some committee as 'just one more part of a machine that grinds to Nowhere.' When thousands of students are marched through identical English degrees, year after year, we've got to stop and ask how authentic and valuable the whole rigmarole is. Are we sheep going up a race into the truck? Is that assessment barking? I think we have become sheep when we spend hours being talked at, when the cat has got our tongue during a tutorial, when we nervously string together sausage cliches in the exam room. But the most damning 'achievement' of the present system is the way no ones knows each other. Will we be able to point at our friends, as a French scientist once did, and say 'These are my books'? We have wasted what was of the most value.

Peter Hallwright, that keen youth who killed Shakespeare last week, claims we're just "quibbling about assessment". He's the sort of person who thinks people sit on the lavatory just to hear the plops.

Martin Doyle.

Progressive MSA Leaders Needed

Dear Sir,

Since the last MSA ACM quite a number of progressive elements have made their presence felt. However, mere words are insufficient. It's time for Action.

The MSA will be holding its AGM on Saturday, 11 Sept. We sincerely hope that these progressive people will stand for election so that they can get elected and guide MSA towards a more progressive path.

We strongly feel that a team comprising of Messrs Loo Kim Hoe, David Yeap and Angelus Tay, will give MSA the most progressive leadership it could ever hope for.

Please do not disappoint us and those who desire progress.


Hussein Wong,

Tua Lam Pah,

Salley Kam Lan.

Letter to Aloysius Slurp

Dear Slurp,

I recently obtained four bottles of Chateau Livran 1967 (Grand - Appellation Controlee): do you know much about it. The colour is good and clear in the bottle.



(Impossible to read your scrawl - typesetter).

Film Festival Review Comment

Dear Sir,

I read your reviewer Simon Wilson's recent review of two films* in the Wellington Film Festival. I feel I should congratulate him on his intellect and ability to be "zapped out" (if you'll excuse the expression) by the cinema. However, while I praise him for this. I also feel he should realise that the job of a reviewer is to make some sense of a film to his readers.

Gratuitous comments about films being "at the centre of twentieth [unclear: century] art" are really rather superfluous to the review and tend to say more about the intellectual response of the reviewer than the film's themselves.

I happened to see Chabrol's "Une Partie de Plaisir" and so I was rather surprised to see what your reviewer had to offer for that film - a wooden spoon indeed! No doubt Chabrol would be delighted to have evoked this response. I found the film - one of the best I've seen - it was direct, subtle as a sledgehammer, and it had the ability to move the audience. On leaving the cinema we fell wrung out. Chabrol had played with our emotions - what was marriage all about anyway? The "crunching" of wives?

Well, Mr Wilson I'm sorry you couldn't appreciate a masterpiece. One didn't have to look at technique, colour, sound etc. One knew the film was effective from its impact in total, rather than component parts.

For the 'The Son of AMR is Dead" was self-indulgence to the core. Yes, you're right I didn't understand [unclear: it]. No, you're wrong I did try. But I do wonder why one should have to spend the duration of a film trying to unravel the intellectual knot it has tied around it before one can see the light. Subtle montages aside, I loved the colour of the Tunisian costumes against the desert quite beautiful that!

I see your other reviewer for the festival. Rod Prosser also missed the bus with "Une Partie dc Plaisir". He must have a submerged concrete walled subconscious if the film failed to reach it (in reference to his 'aside' on the subconscious).

Philistine (Christchurch).

* I am unable to comment on the reviewer's treatment of Elektria as I did not see that film.